What Hope?

I have had to do a lot of listening lately.  With my community of close friends all moving away, I no longer have the avenues where I am able to be fully authentic.  In many ways it can be rather stifling to constantly filter my thoughts and actions from those around me.  At the men’s bible study I attend every week, the issue of how to deal with gay Christians has come up fairly frequently.  While I try to challenge everyone’s thoughts, since they do not know about my SSA, I pretty much sit and have to hear their opinions.  It can be pretty painful and discouraging.

It is easier for these men to speak about adult Christians who are now choosing to live our their gay identity, because in their minds they capable human beings and as adults, are not viewed as having relational needs that need to be met.  Most married individuals don’t grasp the life of a single person and the loneliness that results.  Without seeing these basic needs, they only assume that living a celibate life is the obvious answer and it is a simple choice of obedience.

I am still waiting to hear a church that provides hope for the gay Christian or Christian with SSA (whichever wording you need to hear to feel comfortable).  I try to consider what I would tell to my 13 year old self, around the time where I was just realizing that I could possibly be gay.  While it feels justifiable to many to judge an adult and their actions, a 13 year old, who without choosing realizes that he is attracted to men is in a different place.  What message can the church give them in terms of the timeline for their life?

If I had to speak to myself at that age, all I can say is that it is only going to get harder.  You will only get more isolated, you will live without being known and all you can do is hope to hold on to your faith even though the temptation to experience relationship constantly feels overwhelming.  I am only 30 and I never thought life would be this difficult this early.

Typical kids are told somewhat of a timeline for their life with the stages that they should eventually experience.  You graduate from high school, then college, you date, you get married, you establish yourself in a career, you have kids, you live a life as a parent for a while, you become grandparents, you retire so to enjoy your family and all you worked for, then you die.  For a person with SSA, with all stages of life related to family being removed, outside of career there isn’t much to expect.

I recently started going to a Catholic support group in my area (not because I am Catholic, but it is one of the only areas of support close by).  Part of my desire was to hear from older men dealing with SSA and how they are getting to experience life with hope.  Sadly, most of them are still struggling even at their old age.  They don’t speak a life of hope, excitement, fulfillment or expectancy.  Rather the only thing they can hope is to hold on to Christ and remain obedient despite the daily temptations and the feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Until the church can speak of a hope and a life that isn’t merely survival, I feel as though the options for a gay Christian is either change your theology by convincing yourself that the side A is actually a Biblical option or prepare for a long life alone.  I cannot allow my theology to be changed by my experience, but the option I am living now is so difficult.

I have hope for eternity but I don’t have hope for tomorrow.  I dread the coming years and how the life of obedience will only get more difficult.  I am tired, weary and the burden is extremely heavy.  The promise of Jesus in Matthew 11:30 seems far and distant.

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9 thoughts on “What Hope?

    • I’m just hesitant. I don’t like to come out to people who haven’t really bothered to get to know me with out knowledge of my SSA. If them knowing about my struggle is the catalyst for a relationship, it is an odd way to begin getting to know another person. I feel like I end up as a “project friendship” than a true friendship.

    • I am not one to church shop and so as of now I am in it for the long haul… despite how frustrating it can be. Ultimately, I don’t believe that I should try to find a church to meet my needs, otherwise I will put myself in the very situation I am frustrated seeing others taking part in. My desire to to encourage everyone, married or single to live out life with a purpose beyond themselves.

  1. hi my brother. I m sorry for that suffering… I am going through the same.. and I am 36. and yes getting older life is getting harder… when I read blogs of those SSA christians under age of 25, they hope for better things to come…but when they reach 30 and more, their confidence lessens. loneliness becomes frustrating…even faith becomes weak and empty…and it hardly can help. words make no sense, because the reality is much different… cruel..and of course married people will never understand that christians or nonchristians… only we, who understand the pain, can care for each other, by being there for each other… you are not alone! wish you peace my friend.

  2. — “I have hope for eternity but I don’t have hope for tomorrow. I dread the coming years and how the life of obedience will only get more difficult. I am tired, weary and the burden is extremely heavy.”

    You’ve captured this feeling so well – so sorry for what you are going through. What George says above about people’s hope and faith as they pass hit their 30s is probably true of single straight people as well. But there’s a huge difference: for single straight people, there’s always the hope that, even if they are lonely now, someone still might come along. But there’s no such hope for gay people who rule out the possibility of a relationship due to their religious beliefs.

    You say “I cannot allow my theology to be changed by my experience…” Why not? I mean, I think I get the underlying sentiment: that we shouldn’t choose our beliefs based only on what is most convenient for us. But shouldn’t our experience at least inform the growth of our faith?

    Maybe you’ll hate this analogy. If a slave grew up in an environment where the church taught that the Bible supported slavery, the fact that she or he stood to benefit from questioning such a teaching should NOT disqualify them from asking the questions. Your theology has already been shaped by your experience. The family you grew up in, your culture, your church experiences (or lack thereof) – all of these have likely had some influence on what you believe about God and about the Bible. The fact that you would “benefit” from a reading of scripture that diverges from your current beliefs shouldn’t stop you from asking questions.

    • In regards to theology based upon experience, please know that it is not without raising my own questions. I have read both sides of the arguments regarding Side A and Side B theology. I own Matthew Vine’s book as well as have listened and read many church’s explanation for becoming a “third wave” or inclusive church. In many ways, I have gone in hoping to be convinced that a different understanding of scripture was possible. Sadly, all of the arguments, reinterpretation of scripture and other understandings have not been strong enough for me. Trust me, especially when I was in a relationship in the past, I wished that somehow I could justify remaining together with that guy, but deep down I never was at peace. It isn’t an easy decision and every day I carry the cross of what I believe to be true.

  3. “For a person with SSA, with all stages of life related to family being removed, outside of career there isn’t much to expect.” I understand this and it is where the church is really week–the church should in fact be the family that we are looking for. I don’t know if that is something we who struggle with SSA can help them with or not. I am 55 you can check out my story over at Same-sex Attractions. I did not choose to live a celibate life until I was 37 I have been much happier living in congruence with my side B convictions. I think that fear is far more crippling then SSA its self–by that I mean that we often are unwilling to allow men to get close to us because we are unsure of our own motives or the other mans motives (maybe I should just say “I” here). But for me when I overcome the fear I often alleviate the since of loneliness. I will tell you that I have a very strong friendship with a young man that is 25 years younger than I am (he is not SSA). He is just a very interesting person to me. I was afraid that my SSA would be a problem for me (he is a hansom individual)…we see each other twice a week for breakfast and have great discussions…but my SSA has never been a problem. He and I are family to each other–for me that is hope. I hope God will provide that for you as well.

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